Saturday, September 21, 2013

A New Twig on the Family Tree

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I just finished this sweater for a new great-nephew.  I hope to someday get a picture of this sweet new baby in his sweater, but it looks like it'll be a bit before it fits.  He's an Arizona boy, so it will be worn rather sparingly in the evenings in the winter, I suspect.

Knitters details

  • Leaves, or Not by Karen Borrel - a Ravelry download in French or English.  
  • Yarn:  Simpliworsted by HiKoo - 2 skeins color 062 Caramel Macchioto and 1 skein Simply Sage.  55% Merino superwash, 28% Acrylic, 17% Nylon, 140 yards in 100 g.
  • Needle:  US 6
  • Button - a wonderful wood one left over from a Philosopher's Wool kit for a cardigan that was made into a pullover. 
  • modifications and notes:  This yarn was heavy for the pattern - I liked the fabric I got with a #6 needle (I knit loosely, so don't judge your gauge by mine) and cast on for a size 6/12 months (22 inch chest finished sweater).  My sweater turned out to be 24 inches around - a rather generous 12-18 month size, I suspect.  Also, the pickup for the collar says to do 2 stitches for every 3 rows in the stockinette section - which works fine on the "straight" fronts.  When I got to the v-neck, it looked better to pick up every row. 
Leaves, or not
This picture shows how it looked just before I unravelled the last row, having picked up in a 2/3 ratio.  It doesn't lie as smoothly as I wanted.  So I tried again.

This was my first top down raglan sweater - it was easy, but would have been easy the other way round too, I think.  The shawl collar is nicely designed - the pattern doesn't suggest any wrapping for the short rows, but I used these instructions for Japanese short rows.   I'm not sure it makes a big difference one way or another.  a difference, yes, but not a big one.  

Leaves, Or Not
This may be a new favorite baby sweater.  I could imagine adding little embroidered flowers for a girl.  What's your go-to baby sweater? 

Sunday, September 01, 2013

Just the Same, Only Different

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At some point when I finished my son's Urban Aran sweater, I asked my daughter to try it on.  And was pleased (but a little surprised) when she said, "I'd like one of these, too!"

When I began to plan the sweater for her, I realized that she really liked THAT sweater.  She wanted the same, soft, natural looking yarn - Cascade Eco Cloud, which is undyed wool and alpaca.  She even liked the color, so I chose a slightly darker charcoal grey (my son's sweater was dove grey).  Way back when, I'd hoped to make my son's sweater of the charcoal yarn, but my local store didn't have quite enough skeins of the darker color, and there was enough of the lighter grey.

Because I thought the first sweater stretched quite a bit upon wearing, I was careful to make this one smaller.  Still, I ended up doing surgery on the sleeves to shorten them by an inch and a half when I was all done.

Then we came to the zipper.  I'd remembered that my daughter had thought I should have used a zipper with metal teeth for her brother's sweater - so I thought that was what she'd want.  But instead, she asked for buttons.  It took me a while to talk myself into this.  I think the zipper front really suits this sweater.  But it is her sweater, so I started looking at pictures of similar sweaters on Ravelry that had buttons.

In the end, I picked up 3 stitches for every four rows and knit a button band.  After a false start or two, we chose these buttons from Blackwater Abbey Yarns.
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Besides looking good on the sweater, they are not overly heavy for a metal button.  Still, since the alpaca makes this yarn very soft and stretchy, I backed the button band with grosgrain ribbon and sewed the buttons on with another, plain plastic button on the back.  I also sewed ribbon on the buttonhole side.
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This meant sewing buttonholes in the ribbon before I sewed it in the sweater. And I lined the back yoke, something I think would be unnecessary with a firmer yarn. (This sweater did feel a little If You Give a Mouse a Cookie-ish by the time I finished!)
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But in the end, it was all worth it. This sweater looks great with buttons! We're both happy. She's off to spend a semester (the first of two) in Italy in a week. And she'll have this love to keep her warm.

 Urban Aran Sweater

  • Cascade Eco Cloud, Charcoal color 1810, about 10 skeins, purchased from Sheep's Clothing
  • Celtic Knot buttons, size 7/8" from Blackwater Abbey Yarns
  • The original Urban Aran with Toque pattern is out of print.  The peplum cardigan pattern in Bernat #530183, Chill in the Air is the same pattern and available.   
  • US size 8 and 9 needles (size 7 for the button band)
  • 1-1/2 inch grosgrain ribbon and 3/4 inch La Mode buttons from Joann Fabric
  • In Ravelry